My Bout with Bulimia
Updated: Jan 29, 2021
The connection between my mental health and my physical health has been a very direct one. When I was in the darkest times in my life I began binge-and-purging. It was a vicious and horribly unhealthy cycle, but I am here to tell you, you can overcome it.
It began in my freshman year of college. I was in a particularly difficult season of life and was worried I wouldn't get into the program I had been working toward all year. I had made friends with several other people who were going for the same few spots as well. We began, for some reason, talking about bulimia and how of of them had struggled with it for many years. She explained to me how she would force herself to throw-up when she was younger and that now it was a cycle she was seeing a therapist to get out of.
Through absolutely no fault of her own, this planted a seed for me. I began to start feeling sick after every one of my meals and the only thing that seemed to make me feel better was forcing myself to vomit. I quickly realized I was going down a dark tunnel and sought help from my college therapist. I was able to recover for about 1 year and 6 months with only an occasional relapse.
Fast-forward: I had been diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder, but even in that uncertainty I was able to feel in control. It wasn't until I entered an incredibly toxic relationship, that I started binging and purging regularly. It was a way to control the chaos around me. In the back of my mind I was punishing myself for being what my boyfriend at the time called, "chubs". It was something he said in jest, but it never was truly a joke, or something I was okay with him saying. And as I heard more and more negative comments about my physical appearance, the more I would believe them. I truly believed I was a fat piece of shit who couldn't be loved, and vomiting was a way to punish and control the only thing I thought I could, me.
After I left that relationship, the cycle got worse. I would eat a whole pizza and 3/4 of an apple pie (no joke) and then I would force myself to barf it back up so I could go snack on some midnight Taco Bell. I couldn't get his voice out of my head when I looked at myself in the mirror, and hated everything about me. I would convince myself that I felt so bad, even if I had eaten a reasonable amount, that I needed to vomit. That puking was the only way to make myself feel better, that it was the only thing in my life that I could control.
I wish I had more tangible advice than I do, but I don't. I found a health & wellness community and started to practice kinder, healthier habits.
For me the things that helped most were:
-constantly listening to self-help books
-surrounding myself with positive, understanding people who are striving to make healthy choices themselves
-finding a meal plan that helped me to focus on nourishing my body in a balanced way
Once I broke free of this cycle, I was able to become much healthier in my mind, body, and soul. I learned to talk to myself and my body like a best friend that goes everywhere with me, instead of my mortal enemy.
Ultimately, my journey and experience with this has not been as severe as what others have gone through. I have been extremely fortunate that I haven't had to have extensive therapy, or had permanent damage done to my esophagus or teeth. But, what I do know and can tell you, is that you have the power. You are in control.
Maybe you've never experienced anything like what I've detailed, but perhaps you know someone who does, or are dealing with your own self-destructive demons. The point is, I hope we can all learn to be kinder and more compassionate to ourselves and those around us. We always have the power over our own actions and any day could be the day we decide to change our lives forever.